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November, 2008

  1. Pistachio Poundcake

    November 23, 2008 by SavvyInTheCity

    I’m cheating today and posting this on both of my blogs (it’s too good not to share everywhere!).

    For our office’s Thanksgiving “Feast,” I volunteered to bring pistachio pound cake. I feel it sounds more complicated than it was, as I prepared a pound cake as directed then just added a teeny little splash (about half a teaspoon or less) of pistachio extract* and four regular drops of green food coloring into the mix. Also, this wasn’t just any pound cake recipe; this was my grandmother’s pound cake recipe and my very first time attempting a pound cake! I even went out and bought a flour sifter so I could execute the recipe exactly right.
    Pistachio flavor included or not, I was impressed with the outcome! The pound cake crust was perfect and the overall texture and level of moistness were right on.
    Without further adieu, my grandmother’s sour cream pound cake recipe!


    • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
    • 3 cups sugar
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 6 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla


    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

    In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Sift the baking soda and flour together. Add to the creamed mixture alternating with eggs, beating each egg 1 at a time. Add the vanilla and pour the mixture into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes.

    *I bought pistachio extract from King Arthur Flour for $6.95 plus shipping. I seriously warn you (SERIOUSLY!) to proceed with caution when using pistachio extract. It’s INCREDIBLY potent. 

  2. Dining Room Table Via Underpriced Furniture

    November 18, 2008 by SavvyInTheCity

    Our weekend mission: find a functional, affordable and color appropriate dining room table for our smallish living room.
    Friday night, I was eager to visit our first target store, Cost Plus World Market, only to be a little disappointed. Loved the store and the style of—wasn’t head-over-heels for the dining room table I’d seen in the previous weekend’s Sunday paper. The Chemia table was a little more “country” than our tastes and didn’t seem terribly durable. The price was almost right (somewhere around $750) but the quality of the wood didn’t feel quite right to us, and we also thought we could find a look that was more “us.” 
    A quick stop by American Signature Furniture yielded similar results. We headed home, empty-handed, not that we would have been able to fit a table and six chairs in the Saab. 
    Saturday was mostly spent helping my younger brother move. But it was just our luck that he rented a Uhaul for the day, needing to return it mid-Sunday morning. After finishing moving him around 3 or 3:30 that afternoon, we decided to take advantage of said “free” Uhaul. 
    Our destination: Underpriced Furniture*. We’d been there once before on a hunt for a book case. And a book case we found! We picked up an espresso-colored floor-to-ceiling (the same as Haverty’s advertises except for without the name branded on the bottom and without the Haverty’s pricetag). Our bookcase set us back a bragworthy $220. Knowing we passed by some sharp-looking dining room tables during our visit a year before, we thought the Norcross-based furniture vendor was worth a shot.
    The night before, Dan and I discussed how fabric cushions can be annoying to clean—and a major pain to replace. He wasn’t sold on seats without built-in cushions because they just didn’t seem as comfortable. 
    Underpriced had a few tables that fit our bill. We decided on an espresso/cherry-colored table with a leaf. Without its leaf, the table is your standard rectangular table. The leaf, however, goes in lengthwise, giving you a large, square-shaped table. The chairs have built-in black leather cushions, a perfectly happy medium for what Dan and I discussed. 
    Since our choice table was out of stock, we went home with the floor model and all six of its available chairs. The table was on sale for $699, including four chairs (with each additional chair costing $74)—so about $847. Dan asked if we could get a little bit of a discount since we bought the floor model. The salesperson rather quickly conceded, giving us the the equivalent of one “free” chair in our final price (about $773 total). 
    We enjoyed dinner with visiting family on the new table that night. I think we’ll be back to grab two more chairs since the square-shaped configuration allows for 8 chairs comfortably.
    LOVE our new table!
    *Web site isn’t all that great or accurate with what’s available in the store, so I suggest you make the trek up to Interstate 85 North’s Jimmy Carter exit to check out what they have in-store. 

  3. Craig’s List Haircut Update

    November 17, 2008 by SavvyInTheCity

    So, this past weekend was my Craig’s List haircut and hair color.
    I showed up to Verrilli Hair Studio on Sunday afternoon, not sure what to expect. I was told to look out for 1151 Hammond Drive (near Perimeter Mall) then for Salon Studios on the second floor. 
    A spunky, little, redheaded lady greeted me as I entered the building. She introduced herself as Mary. Walking me back to her little 1oo by 100 square feet studio, she explained the concept behind Salon Studios. An entrepreneur took a large retail space and turned it into 32 individual “mini” salons. Each unit comes standard with neutrally painted walls, a shampoo bowl, a cutting station and a chair. Tenants pay $260 a week to use the space. This is the second Salon Studios (with the other in Roswell). The setup sounds like a great way to encourage stylists* to have their own businesses without having to build their own studios.
    I would be lying to you if I said that Mary’s age (probably just shy of 60, judging off the year she went to cosmetology school—1969) didn’t make me a little nervous at first. Sure, she was hip looking and very friendly, but did she know how to cut hair every way from the traditional to the more modern? I was, after all, looking for someone with great training and versatility. 
    Mary impressed me! She mixed up containers of a lowlight (using a product called Color Sync) and a highlight (using Redken products) and foiled my head like a pro. She used natural-looking colors and appropriate ratios of highlight to lowlight. After rinsing out my hair, Mary treated me to some Redken hair glaze (a shiny gloss that should stay on my hair for about six weeks). In between bouts of shampooing, she told me how much she enjoys staying up with trends and taking hair classes. “If someone comes in and asks me to give them a faux hawk,” Mary said, “I need to make sure I know how to give them a faux hawk.”
    Admitting herself that she’s borderline obsessive, Mary trimmed my hair with great precision. She told me that my previous haircut had very unblended layers and looked chopping. She stopped multiple times throughout the process to check the evenness of the pieces on the left and right sides of my part. All along the way, Mary told me how much she loves cutting hair and feels like she enjoys it as much as her clients do. Not ever wanting to send someone home “unfinished,” she blew my hair dry and completed my “do” with a ceramic flat iron. 
    And just as I was told via e-mail, my total was a fantastic $96 (I tipped $25 on top of that). This price included a 20% discount, as explained in the Craig’s List ad, so the services (partial lowlight, highlight, cut and style) will be $120 total moving forward. I think I’ll be back!
    Verrilli Hair Studio

    *A few of the stations are occupied by non-hair stylists. I saw an organic makeup, bath products and candles vendor as well as a little shop that does manicures and pedicures.

  4. Great CNN Article

    November 12, 2008 by SavvyInTheCity

    CNN published a helpful article today titled “Five Ways to Stay Fabulous on a Budget.”

    Check it out here

  5. Camera Arrived!

    November 8, 2008 by SavvyInTheCity

    Just in time for a quick weekend trip to visit the inlaws, our new camera arrived! It’s exactly what I ordered and arrived in a mere two days. Thank you, Buy Dig, for not giving me the runaround.